Wicklander leads surge past Bulldogs
With 41 seconds left in the game, Baker had a chance to grab a late lead against the La Grande, but a jump ball gave possession to the Tigers, and with the lost possession went a chance to win the game.
Senior Tyson Wicklander took over down the stretch on Senior Night, helping La Grande hold on to a 55-50 win Friday, extending its winning streak to 15 games.
According to Coach Mark Carollo, it was an emotional game for the Tigers.
“Well, always with the Baker-La Grande games the emotions are in the way,” Carollo said. “I think we did a good job of somewhat channeling our emotions.”
Wicklander made all four of his trips to the free throw line in the final 24.5 seconds helping La Grande stretch out its 51-50 lead. He scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. Wicklander showed the ice in his veins, making all six attempts from the line in the final eight minutes.
“We are a jump-shooting team. In the fourth quarter we attacked a little bit more,” Carollo said.
Brandon Dall was the only other La Grande player to score in the final quarter. His field goal, assisted by Wicklander with 1:35 left in the game gave the Tigers a 51-50 lead. Dall finished with 13 points in the game.
The Bulldogs shot an efficient mark in the opening three quarters of play, going 17-of-27 from the field, but made only 1-of-5 attempts in the fourth quarter.
La Grande didn’t shoot better than the Bulldogs, but simply had more opportunities. The Tigers went 17-of-56 from the floor, including 5-of-20 from behind the arc.
It was a true back-and-forth game until the final minute when the Tigers surged ahead on a 6-0 run. Baker’s largest lead of the game was four points in the first quarter.
Mason Cline erased that lead with a personal 5-0 run of his own, and scored seven points in the third quarter. He converted an and-one opportunity to even the score 38-all.
Kurt Boyd and LeaMaster traded 3-point shots to close the third quarter with the score knotted at 43-all.
Boyd came off the bench to give La Grande nine points in the game, making 3-of-5 attempts from behind the arc.
LeaMaster gave Baker the same spark off the bench, scoring 11 points. The junior made 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
Senior Troy Williams added nine points for La Grande, with six in the first half.
Logan Sand and Cline led Baker, each scoring 14 points.
The Tigers stayed a game in front of Ontario for first place in the Greater Oregon League standings with two games left to play.
La Grande (16-2 overall, 4-0 GOL) will travel to McLoughlin for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff Tuesday, and then close out the season against at Ontario (13-6 overall, 3-1 GOL) at 7 p.m. Friday.